Thursday, May 19, 2011

How I’ve Stopped Caring about American Idol This Year

by Chris McGinty (According To Whim .com)

You know, last year was nice. The Top 4 was Lee DeWyze, Crystal Bowersox, Casey James, and Michael Lynch (if memory serves, if not just smile and nod). What I do remember is the feeling that at that point I would have preferred either Crystal or “Big Mike” to win, but that I would be fine with it either way.

This year, the talent level really was high. There were six people I would have been ok with winning, but when we got to Top 4, only two of them were left. Fine. We’ll just have an exciting finals night with James and Lauren, and I’ll still be happy.

Then James got sent home last week. You know, even with the high level of talent, James was one of the few people we could say was consistently good. Pia was also consistently good, but she got booted off a while back. Lauren had a couple of rough weeks at the start. Thia was always good, but always picked sleepy songs that she always did very well, but eventually did her in. Casey had a couple of off weeks that did him in twice. Jacob had a couple of off weeks, and one was a night where they did two songs, where he did poorly on both. James… well, one time he got too emotionally wrapped up in a song and went a little off key. Whatever.

Haley has been a veritable mess. I’m not entirely sure what veritable means, but it’s ok, because sheesh… Haley… sheesh… I don’t know how she made it through to Top 6, much less actually having a serious chance of winning now that James is out.

Scotty is good. I think that my not wanting him to win may be a matter of taste. I don’t think that kid goes off key ever, and he does have the showmanship in him, which he has been letting out. Maybe I’ve just become spoiled by some American Idol winners with an actual range in what they can do. Or maybe it’s just a perception. Are Lee DeWyze or Kris Allen really all that diverse?

What I like about Lauren is that she has a style that she mostly falls into, but she has shown that she can do so much. She could release a Carrie Underwood style album, and she could also get away with a Miley Cyrus style album. Then when you really think about that, she could really go almost any direction from there. She won’t be doing a metal duet with James anytime soon, unless it’s something similar to “Close My Eyes Forever,” but she could pull off most rock styles.

Scotty… well Scotty will be touring with Randy Travis Tritt, Garth Brooks & Dunn, and George Straitjacket Fits. That last one didn’t really work, and I apologize for it.

Sure, I plan to finish watching the season and I’m curious who will win, but right now I think that the Top 3 is made up of one of the best vocalists in the competition, one of the worst, and one of the most limited. Regardless of what happens, I hope Lauren at least makes it one more week so that I’m not entirely miserable next week.

Well, I wrote that before I came home to watch the show, and guess what? American Idol didn’t record! Of all the luck. But in its place there was an episode of “Hee Haw.” Luckily, it happened to be the episode of “Hee Haw” that was guest starring the American Idol Top 3, and they did an atrocious parody of how that show should go. I guess I’ll just judge their “Hee Haw” performances instead.

Let me start with Scotty’s three performances: Lonestar, Garth Brooks, and Kenny Rogers. Enough said. Except that I want to say that he reinforced what I believed, which is that he has no range. Then the judges were all like, “See, we knew that you could hit that range. We knew you had it in you.” Why… excuse me… why… huh hum, sorry… why is there someone in the fucking Top 3 who is just now proving to the judges that he has range, especially, when he didn’t really go that far out of his normal range? “Amazed” by Lonestar is a fantastic song. In fact, that whole album is pretty good. I think he did a very unimpressive job with it, and “She Believes in Me” is one of those songs that if you ever considered buying now for only $19.99, so you can get the bonus Christmas record with Dolly Parton, then you know that Kenny Rogers really, really feels that song. Scotty…why…

Next, let me deal with Haley. I can’t deal with Haley. In the course of three songs, she managed to take everything that I ever appreciated about her, and made me question my judgment. I talked about how she has a voice that I like and a voice that I don’t like, and every single song she did was in that bad voice. She did Led Zeppelin, which the judges hailed as gutsy because that’s an iconic rock band, but she picked one of their lamest songs, and then didn’t even do it very well. Then… excuse me… then… huh hum, sorry… then she did Fleetwood Mac. Has anyone ever noticed that no one ever does Stevie Nicks/Fleetwood Mac well on that show? She started out all over the place, taking great liberty with the melody, then she seemed to settle into it and I was starting to think it was alright (if you ignored the fact that she was caught in a tornado) but by the end I was trying to figure out what she was doing, because it didn’t seem to be “Rhiannon.” Finally, “You Oughtta Know” was just awful, and I mean it, awful. There was not a single redeeming thing in that performance. The judges kept going, “You really brought it in the chorus.” What that means, when the glass is half empty, is that the verses were weak. Why can’t they say that? And by the way, she didn’t bring it in the chorus. When Alanis Morrisette did that song she brought the hurt and the anger, and she brought it in a believable way. Haley brought nothing.

Now to end on a positive note. Lauren simply should win. There was not a single performance tonight that I would call my favourite of hers, but it doesn’t matter, because all three performances were good, and she does new and interesting things with her voice every week. It’s always the subtle parts with her that make me love what she does, and the not so subtle parts amaze me as well. She did a Faith Hill song, she did some group I’ve never heard of, and she did “Dance” by Leeann Womack, which is a fantastic song, and she was impressive.

This was the toughest show to sit through since they did Frank Sinatra Week last year. If Lauren isn’t there next week, I’m going to have a very hard time sitting through the show.

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